Sunday Roast: The Common Cold


There’s just never a good time to get a cold, is there?  Even if you really don’t have much going on, getting a cold is not near the top of things to do.

When you have a cold (or any other virus or disease), your body becomes a battle ground.  This is why we feel so crappy!  The immune system is fighting a battle to the death with viral invaders, and we do our best to get on with life and deny anything is happening — while we share our lovely cold with people all around us.  Srsly, don’t do that.

There are four basic stages of a cold:

Stage 1: Inflammation
The first stage of a cold or flu is all about inflammation. Everything is hot and dry. Inflammation occurs as your immune system mounts an attack against the invading virus.

You feel feverish, your throat is sore, you’re thirsty and cranky — stay home with your tea and toast!  If you take medication, your cold will last about seven days, if you don’t, it will last about a week.  I don’t bother with it, since I think the body should be allowed to have its war, and get it over with.

Stage 2: Mucous
At this stage of a cold you are always left wondering how such a small body part can produce so much mucous. The mucous at this stage is clear and runny, and there is usually lots of it.

I’m familiar with this stage right now, and the snot is epic.  No decongestants!  For heaven’s sake, you want the snot on the outside, not withering on this inside.  Treat yourself to soft tissues and chicken soup with a dash of cayenne.  You’ll be glad you did…like I am.

Stage 3: Congestion
Mucous becomes thick and changes colour from the clear to white of stage 2 to yellow or green. As the bacteria that usually live in the nose grow back, they change the mucus to a greenish colour. This is normal.

This is the stage where the snot becomes boogers.  That’s highly technical mom-speak, so if you need translation, just let me know.  Keep drinking lots of warm liquids to keep things flowing (remember, better out than in), and don’t do that thing where you blow your nose and then look at it — that is just gross.

And finally…

Stage 4: Convalescence and Recovery
Convalescence and recovery while not a true stage of colds and flu is a valuable art that we have lost as a society.

Your body literally fights a war each time you have a cold and allowing some time at the end of the infection for your body to clean up the mess and repair the damage can mean the difference between another cold next month or next year.

Convalescence is very simple, all it involves is a few extra days of ‘quiet time’ (don’t schedule in any extra curricular activities), early nights and nutritious foods. You may resume exercise but don’t overdo it, intense exercise has a temporary suppressant effect on your immune system. A long walk is far better at this stage than an intense exercise session at the gym or a run.

Take it easy!  What’s the matter with you?  Your body has been a war zone, and you won.  You want to be sick again?  Fine, get your own chicken soup, and leave my cayenne and soft tissues alone.  *grump*

This is our daily open thread — I just gave you cooties!